ME255, Introduction to Aerospace Engineering, has to be my favorite class that I have taken thus far at Lehigh, sorry to all the other professors who taught my other classes. One big reason is that we got to go on a field trip to the Allentown Airport. Now, not very many college professors take their students on field trips at all. So ME255 is very special.
While we were at the airport we walked around and looked at the various airplanes that were parked near/in the hangers. We were supposed to go up into the control tower and into the radar room but due to the government shutdown the people who usually give the tours were not allowed to work; so we did not go into there. We saw many different types of Aircraft including: jets (Photo 1), turbo-propellers (props) (Photos 2 and 3), props and helicopters.
Most people know what a jet engine is and what a regular prop plane is, but many people do not know what a turbo prop plane is. A turbo prop plane is a prop plane that has its has its props powered by jet engines. The jet engines spin a shaft and that in turn, after some gear reduction to reduce the revolutions of the shaft, turns the propeller blades.
We also learned some different things about the ABE airport and about planes as well. It turns out that Bethlehem Steel, in its heyday, had its own aircraft hanger at the airport. The sign that marked their hanger is still mostly there as is seen by the photo below.
We also learned that many jets have special frontal wheels, with edges on the side (as seen below). This is to deflect any water that gets sprayed up, from the plane going to take off, away from the jet engines, because the last thing you would want is to be just about to take off and have water spray in your engine this could cause serious problems for your engine and plane.
Even thought I had a lot of homework and other things to do going on the trip to the ABE airport was a great experience and it gave me some very cool incites into airplanes.